One of the most-visited exhibits at the Phoenix Zoo is the Sumatran Tigers, one of which is creating quite a name for herself in the college football world.
Hadiah is one of two Sumatran Tigers who call the Phoenix Zoo home, and a crowd gathered to watch her expert pick for Saturday’s Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl between the K-State Wildcats and the Michigan Wolverines.
"With the bowl games out in Phoenix, lots of local organizations get really excited," said Joseph Becker, digital communications specialist at Pheonix Zoo. "It’s wonderful to have so many people out here enjoying the bowl games, and we really wanted to be a part of that."
Two boxes were placed near the front of Hadiah’s living space, one with Michigan’s logo and one with a Powercat. Inside each box was an equal amount of ground beef, and whichever box Hadiah opened and dined on would receive her endorsement as the victor for Saturday’s game.
She made quick work of the Powercat box, strolling over towards it and casting but a short glance towards Michigan’s. No delicacy was needed, as the 200 pound carnivore shoved her head into the cardboard box and devoured the tasty morsel. It took her a few minutes to coax her treat out of Michigan’s shortly after, however.
Hadiah brings many things to the table: her exotic background, her elite hunter status among the feline community, her stripes, but most importantly, her history in bowl predictions.
"She was 2-0 last year, and that’s why we like going with her," Becker said. "She seems to be pretty accurate and she always puts on a good show."
Maybe Lee Corso should take some notes from this sharp-clawed seer in his pre-game predictions on ESPN in the future.
The seven-year old tigress likes to be around people and put on a show, according to keeper Shawna Brown:
"She’s a bit of a diva. She likes to get all the attention from her keepers and from anybody that might come visit the night house, as well as the public. She does try to put on a show for most people. She’s quite a ham… Jai, her mate that is supposed to be breeding with her is very into her too. She’s very much a diva with him as well. He wants to give her lots of attention but she doesn’t want to accept the attention as well as we’d like."
Given the sponsor of the bowl game, might there be some wings in the boxes next year?
"The beef is a main part of her diet," Becker said. "We might have to talk to the Buffalo Wild Wings folks and see what we can do for next year."
Regardless of the food provided, Hadiah put her reputation on the line for K-State, now the question becomes will they pull out a win for her on Saturday.
Hadiah was not made available for comment following her prediction.